“Celebrate the happiness that friends are always giving, make every day a holiday and celebrate just living!” -Amanda Bradley
In Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll coined the term “un-birthday,” which means exactly what you might expect—a day you celebrate that isn’t actually your birthday. You might not feel inclined to send out Evites and buy a helium tank in honor of a non-milestone, but there’s something to this idea.
We often live life waiting for reasons to get excited. We save the good china for special occasions, reserve fancy clothes for yet-to-be-determined big events, and generally wait for moments that will justify festivity. Then when we reach those events, the act of planning—making sure everything is perfect, and everyone is happy—can create more stress than joy.
Conventional wisdom suggests you should live every day like your last, but maybe that isn’t the answer either. If it were your last, you might quit your job, drain your savings account, and take dangerous risks because you’d have no reason to be cautious.
Perhaps a better suggestion is to treat every day as a new opportunity to be happy–a new selection of moments when you can smile, enjoy the little things, and find reasons to rejoice. Not because your time is almost up, but simply because it feels good. And why not feel good right now?
Celebrate something today. Anything! Did you parallel park really well after work? Bust out the champagne! Did your daughter say please and thank you? You’re an awesome parent with a gifted child—write it on a cake! Did your roommate or significant other do a great job cleaning? What better reason to grab a big bouquet of flowers?
We don’t need a calendar to tell us which days are special and extraordinary. We just need the willingness to recognize the special in the ordinary.
*This is an updated version of a post from 2009. Photo by charness.